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Waterfall with rich history refreshes Kisii residents

Monday November 18 2019

Nyakwana waterfall

Nyakwana waterfall in Kisii County on November 11, 2019. Teenagers swim there. PHOTO | BENSON AYIENDA | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

SHARON ACHIENG
By SHARON ACHIENG
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Nyakwana waterfall known by residents as “Ekeera” in Nyaribari Chache constituency, Kisii County, is a beautiful scenery; an important natural resource with a rich history.

On a normal day, love birds troop in hand in hand, whispering words of the heart to each other as residents come with their fishing rods for the day’s catch.

That’s not all. Nyakwana River is large enough and has still waters where teenage boys and girls go swimming.

Mr Ascar Barongo, 73, a resident of Nyakwana village, recalls that decades ago, white people would visit ‘Ekeera’ for a swim, canoeing, camping activities and to socialise.

“It was in the pre-independence period that wazungu used to visit here to swim and bask in the sun,” she tells Nation.

But that stopped at some point, effectively leaving the recreation site for residents.

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REDUCED WATER LEVELS

Initially, the land adjacent to ‘Ekeera’ was protected and served as a settlement scheme, thanks to a local tea company in Matunwa.

On site are ruins of cemented water tanks, which have now been rendered obsolete.

But this development did not serve residents for long as taps ran dry after the Nyakwana scheme was abandoned.

Residents note that the water levels at Nyakwana waterfall have significantly reduced, a phenomenon they attribute to eucalyptus trees planted along the riverbed.

“Many residents here used to be tea farmers, but dwindling bonuses pushed us to plant eucalyptus trees for sale. But this has had a negative effect as water levels have drastically gone down,” says a resident, Mr Fred Nyagaka.

During the start of the dry season, residents say Ekeera had a tendency of “swallowing” people, especially teenagers who went swimming.

ENERGY

A plan to put up a hydroelectric power plant at Nyakwana by politician Simeon Nyachae did not materialise.

Today, Governor James Ongwae is said to be exploring ways of installing hydroelectric power.

Lake Victoria South Water Services Board has stepped up execution of water projects to improve availability of the resource.

The projects, funded by the German Bank and Orio of Netherlands, include rehabilitation and expansion of Kisii water supply works, which also incorporates construction of Bonyunyu Dam.

“Plans to generate power at Nyakwana waterfall are already in progress,” Ms Skitter Ocharo, the county executive for water, energy and natural resources, says.

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